Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

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San Diego Noir

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San Diego may be known as “America’s finest city,” but its deadly alter ego is hereby exposed.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Selected by San Diego Union-Tribune as one of the five best books of 2011, by January Magazine as one of the best crime fiction books of 2011, and by Zoom Street Magazine as the best anthology of the year.

Finalist for SCIBA’s 2011 T. Jefferson Parker Book Award for Mystery & Thrillers.

T. Jefferson Parker’s story, “Vic Primeval,” was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2012 anthology.

“When it’s done right, noir is a darkly delicious thrill: smart, sharp-tongued, surprising. The knife goes in at the end with a twist. San Diego Noir, a new 15-story collection by some of the region’s best writers, has all that going for it, and the steady supply of hometown references makes it even more fun.”
San Diego Union-Tribune

“Perfect for adventurous book groups and for travelers seeking the less rosy side of the cities they’re planning to visit.”
Library Journal


Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

Brand-new stories by: T. Jefferson Parker, Don Winslow, Luis Alberto Urrea, Gar Anthony Haywood, Gabriel R. Barillas, Maria Lima, Debra Ginsberg, Diane Clark & Astrid Bear, Ken Kuhlken, Lisa Brackmann, Cameron Pierce Hughes, Morgan Hunt, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Martha C. Lawrence, and Taffy Cannon.

From the introduction by Maryelizabeth Hart:

The southwesternmost metropolis in the contiguous United States, resting a mere forty feet above sea level, tends to garner positive national attention. San Diego is home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (with its history reaching back to the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition), temperate climes, and a sunny reputation. It is also the home of shooter Brenda Ann ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ Spencer, disgraced Congressman Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham, and San Diego County medical examiner–turned-killer Kristin Rossum . . .

The city is sometimes referred to as San Diego–Tijuana, a conurbation, with all its attendant border issues—illustrated in true noir fashion in Orson Welles’s classic Touch of Evil, adapted from Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson. A ways up the coast from the border lies the grave of Raymond Chandler, who resided in the wealthy enclave of La Jolla from 1946 to 1959; that area masquerades at “Esmerlada” in Playback, his final Philip Marlowe novel . . . I hope that reading this intriguing collection will result in you not just thinking of Shamu (the whale of SeaWorld fame), but maybe a shamus or two, when America’s Finest City comes to mind.

Table of Contents


Part I: Working Stiffs
“Vic Primeval” by T. Jefferson Parker (Kearny Mesa)
“The Home Front” by Diane Clark & Astrid Bear (Sherman Heights)
“Gold Shield Blues” by Jeffrey J. Mariotte (Mount Soledad)
“Key Witness” by Martha C. Lawrence (La Jolla Cove)

Part II: Neighborhood Watch
“The New Girl” by Debra Ginsberg (Cortez Hill)
“Instant Karma” by Taffy Cannon (Rancho Santa Fe)
“The Angel’s Share” by Morgan Hunt (Hillcrest)
“Homes” by Ken Kuhlken (Newport Avenue)

Part III: Life’s A Beach
“After Thirty” by Don Winslow (Pacific Beach)
“Don’t Feed the Bums” by Lisa Brackmann (Ocean Beach)
“Moving Black Objects” by Cameron Pierce Hughes (Mission Beach)

Part IV: Boundaries & Borders
“The Roads” by Gabriel R. Barillas (Del Mar)
“Like Something Out of a Comic Book” by Gar Anthony Haywood (Convention Center)
“The National City Reparation Society” by Luis Alberto Urrea (National City)
“A Scent of Death” by Maria Lima (Gaslamp Quarter)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Published: 5/17/11
  • IBSN: 9781936070947
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750441


MARYELIZABETH HART is a co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy, an independent mystery and science fiction bookstore in San Diego, founded in 1993. In addition to her bookseller responsibilities, she is the editor of San Diego Noir, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and an occasional contributor to works of nonfiction, including Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Greenwood Press).

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